In a rare public rebuke from a fellow Democrat, President Obama was urged today to reconsider a planned trip to Africa later this month, as one lawmaker in his own party took to the House floor to say it sends the wrong message at a time of automatic budget cuts.
“A trip of this magnitude isn’t unusual,” said Rep. John Barrow, a more conservative Democrat from Georgia. “But these are hard times.”
Barrow referred to recent reports in the Washington Post, which estimated the upcoming trip to Africa would cost taxpayers upwards of $100 million – he said that’s almost the exact amount of negative impact from the sequester on his home state’s economy.
“$100 million could be better used to keep folks on the job,” said Barrow, who earlier this year decided against a 2014 bid for U.S. Senate in Georgia.
Here is Barrow’s full speech from the House floor:
The President is scheduled to leave on June 26 and return to Washington, D.C. on July 3.
Mr. Obama has stops in Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. He also visited Africa in 2009.